Incremental Changes - Lulls

It's easy to come into the laboratory or office when the project is going hot and heavy. You have to beat away the volunteers with a stick. Where's everyone during the inevitable lulls? Discontinuous discovery+ means long stretches of incremental change. It's much harder to keep up the passion.

We develop a culture of curiosity and attention to detail. That last experiment had some outliers that seemed odd, but I didn't have time to investigate because of the excitement of the last breakthrough. But I did keep the samples to check into them now that the excitement has died down. We had six alternate hypotheses when we started, and winnowed them down to the one that eventually petered out. Let's go back and check some of the more promising remaining alternatives.

This is not a matter of merely building a master list waiting to be checked off. It's a culture that each team member develops. They are regularly reviewing the leftovers to stake out the most promising or interesting leads.

We document a long list of activities to pursue during periods of incremental change. We sit back from the experience and see if any patterns emerge. We revisit old studies with new technologies. Individuals are not told what to do. Enough breakthroughs have come from individuals revisiting the list that we each know it's a worthwhile activity. The list itself becomes a matter of careful attention. For a simple checklist approach see How to capture and review your ideas.

Further Reading